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Location: Sacramento, California, United States

Sea Monkey devotee since childhood.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Modern Medical Miracles

After going through usual routine of blood pressure, weight, height, "Are you in any pain today?" Janet was led once again to a small examination room. She passed the first half hour wait scrutinizing the calendars, pens, coasters and wall clock bearing the name of various pharmaceutical companies. At first it was interesting to wonder about these freebies, and the salespeople who delivered them to doctors offices. That the practice of giving promotional items these to medical professionals continued was a sign that it must be working. Had any of the scores of prescriptions that had been written her been influenced by the "Pfizer" plastic Frisbee that the good doctor used to play catch with his pure bred French bull dog on weekends.

A nurse opened the door, leading a rather shell shocked looking young patient. "Oops, sorry. I thought this room was empty." the nurse apologized backing quickly back out.

Janet pulled out a paperback and continued waiting. She had grown accustomed to the long waits at some point and no longer became upset, opting instead to make the most of the time away from work and the stresses of life. The small office was not quite zen, a poor excuse for a meditation suite, but it didn't keep her from getting lost in a trashy novel for awhile.

"Hi Janet, I’m Doctor Mosley, sorry to keep you waiting. Dr. Plant is on sabbatical so I'm helping him out." The doctor spoke quickly, never bringing his eyes up from the "Merck Pharmaceuticals" clipboard he clutched in his left hand. "I’ve reviewed you chart and I have some prescriptions ready for you so, you’ll be out of here in a jiffy. Thanks for coming in." and with this he turned to leave, having never so much as glanced at his patient.

"Doctor?" Janet interrupted his hasty retreat.

"Yes?" And at last she saw his eyes. He had nice eyes. In fact he reminded her a bit of Paul Newman. "Well, I... wonder if I might ask you a few questions?"

"Of course. That’s what I’m here for isn’t it?"

"Oh, yes of course. Thank you." Janet let her first impression go and decided she rather liked this older doctor. "I’ve been doing some reading on the internet and I’ve done a bit of research at the library into some alternative treatments. Not that I question the treatments you’re prescribing I just thought that maybe we could try some changes in diet and.."

"Janet, Janet, Janet, that’s fantastic." Dr. Mosley interrupted. "I encourage all of my patients to be well informed on their conditions and I think you’ve got a great idea there. You work on the diet, I’ll write up these prescriptions and in the end you’ll not only feel good, you’ll look good too." as the doctor spoke he returned his gaze to the clipboard in front of him. Janet felt dismissed and returned to feeling a tad combative.

"No, Doc, I don’t mean that kind of diet. Look, Doctor, have you considered what increasing my Omega 3’s might do. I found some great fish oil supplements. I’ve also been looking into some herbs, even just simple things like chamomile have shown impressive results."

The medical professional interrupted again. "Yes, Omegas, of course, I’ve heard of some… thoughts on the omega fish... properties, but hardly what we’d call clinical studies. And Chamomile, well, that’s just tea."

"Yes, Doctor, I suppose you’re right. But what do you think of the debate over whether or not my condition even exists. I mean studies are being conducted at the Main Clinic that suggest a whole range of possible causes for my group of symptoms from food allergies to environmental toxins. I certainly think it’s worth exploring a few more options before adding anymore chemicals."

"The Main studies, yes of course, I’m well aware of the students, studying their, um, studies there in Main, of course, but well, the… Texas test we conducted assures us you have no allergies, and the um… North Dakota screen ruled out any sort of toxic presence."

Janet knew when she was being put on. 'Who the hell is this guy?' she wondered feeling like the victim of a prank. "I’ve never heard of those tests, and I certainly don’t remember them being administered."

"Yes well, you were unconscious! In fact maybe you’d like something to relax you now, I’ve got a little something here in my pocket in fact…"

"No! Doctor that’s okay. I’m fine. I just want to be a part of the diagnosis here."

"Yes. Of course." and then he muttered under his breath, "Because you’re a doctor."

"WHAT!"

He feigned innocence. "What? Oh, you’re not? No really, I meant that sincerely. I, uh, I though you were a doctor… of medicine... I’m sorry. You’re just so well informed."

Janet chose her words cautiously. The sarcasm was pissing her off, but the last thing she needed was a fight. Avoiding stress was an important part of dealing with her condition. "Yes, well, I have become a bit of a citizen scientist I guess, but I’m not meaning to disregard or disrespect your years of schooling and training. I apologize. I do definitely want to look into some alternatives, but only under your guidance, please."

"Well that’s great!" His impatience was still showing, but he seemed to be making an effort to keep it in check, responding to his patients calm demeanor. "Look we’ve gotten your symptoms cleared up. We’ve done a bang up job there I’d say. Now if you’ll just trust us with a few more prescriptions I think we can keep you in the healthy state you’re in today. And of course we can add some tea or mushroom soup or something, no problem."

"That’s just it Doctor. With all due respect I’m not sure that the symptoms are that much worse than the side effects of the drugs. If we can give it a month, I’d really like to see what we can do with a little exercise and a few adjustments to my diet, add some vitamins, cut back on the sugars, maybe go organic…"

"Yes! Organic! Because we love the little buggies don't we? I know, let’s all eat the way people ate 200 years ago. God knows folks were a picture of health then. Let’s just get away from all our big bad chemicals and spooky drugs.
"I have a great idea; Let’s just pretend that it wasn’t the doctors and pharmacists who helped increase the life expectancy while your organic food growers have served humanity by keeping Birkenstock wearing pre-med drop outs employed in the herb departments of your precious little food co-operatives in places like Vermont and Utah.
"'Say Sue, don’t’ you have a doctor’s appointment today after lunch.'" he now began a dialogue feigning a pair of exaggerated falsettos as he danced about his office. "'Well, yes Beth, I did, but I ate my parsley so I don’t really think I need to go now.” “Oh my, and here I though it was just a garnish.”"

"Now you listen here!" Janet shouted. She had had enough. "I hardly think this is appropriate behavior for a man of science." Janet was surprised to find herself standing and yelling in the exam room.

The doctor yelled back, in a loud booming voice. "You Don’t Want A Man Of Science! You want a witch doctor with a good tan who can see your aura reflected in a bowl of organic miso. You’d just as soon we throw away the last couple of thousand years of medical science and kill us some chickens, maybe apply a few leaches."

Doctor Mosley was in her face, and Janet was now feeling more scared than angry as his tirade continued. "Here, here, I’ve got some pins you can stick yourself here and there, maybe munch on my Fichus plant here and you ought to be all better as long as you don’t accidentally listen to any non public radio on your way home, but that won’t happen will it, because surely you wouldn’t ride home to your solar powered yurt in one of those marvels of cancer causing science known as an automobile would you? Hell we’re both past thirty now, how the hell long do we want to live for anyhow? We're just taxing mother earth of her precious resources." He grabbed Janet by the hand as he climbed on to the examining table. "Come on, let’s just lay down and die."

Janet was close to tears now, as the Doctor crossed his arms over his chest, closed his eyes and let his tongue hang from the corner of his mouth. She took a deep breath and counted to ten. When she saw him open one eye she addressed him, as calmly as she could manage.

"Doctor, I’m sorry. I… I know your right. I do trust you. It's just, well, It's just that I’ve been so scared. Please Doctor, what is your treatment?"

Doctor Mosley hopped up from the table, grabbed his clip board and staring at intently went on as if nothing had happened.

"Great. I’m glad to hear you come to your senses. I’ve got a few good prescriptions here to add to your regiment and I’ll figure next week we can start removing your major organs. We’ll have you good to go in no time."

Janet took the prescription slip handed to her. "Yes doctor."

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You damn hippies and your crunchy granola cures. Just take your damn horse pills!

How will pharmacutical companies come up with a more potent form of Viagra if you aren't supporting them by buying their other medications?

9:33 AM  
Blogger Keith Lowell Jensen said...

You make an excellent point there, as does Viagra, wink nudge.
Um, okay, sorry.
It's great that Viagra is easier to get covered by the insurance companies than birth control, especially the dread day after pill.

9:44 AM  
Blogger deeann said...

Dang, this could almost fit into the "mostly true" section.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Yeah, I definitely draw from recent experiences on this one.

7:12 PM  
Blogger deeann said...

A few years ago I went to the doctor for after I twisted my ankle. It should have been pretty simple.

I got a visiting doctor instead of my regular one and after I explained why I was there it went something like (I'm paraphrasing, it was a while ago):

Doctor: You seem to be upset, have you thought about anti depressents?

Me: Yes I'm upset, my ankle really hurts.

Doctor: Why don't I write you a presciption for (Paxil/Prozac/Zoloft whatever the med he was currently pushing).

Me: Could you just *please* take a look at my ankle?

Doctor: This medication has helped a lot of people blah-blah-blah...

Me: (wtf?) Both the person who brough me here and I need to get back to work, can't you just *look* at it and give me some super Ibuprofen or something?

Doctor: Have you thought about counseling for your anger issues?

***

That's the short version of it, it took a while but I did end up getting it wrapped and something to bring the swelling down but the more he talked the pissier I got.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Thanks Deeann. That's an awesome story.
We should put together a collection of these.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Solar powered yurt, eh? Well said!

2:21 PM  

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